Science Fiction: Definition and Examples | Literary Terms - Deepstash
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Science fiction (sci-fi)

Science fiction (sci-fi)

Sci-fi is a genre of fiction literature that is based on scientific facts, theories, and principles. While the storylines and some parts are imaginary, they are plausible according to science.

Science fiction became popular for both writers and audiences with technological developments over the past 150 years, such as electricity, space exploration, medical advances, etc.


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Types of science fiction

Science fiction is a mixture of hard and soft science fiction.

  • Hard science fiction strictly follows natural scientific facts and principles like physics, astronomy, chemistry, etc. For example, Gravity, the story of an astronaut whose spacecraft is damaged while she repairs a satellite, was known for its scientific accuracy.
  • Soft science fiction is focused on social sciences, like anthropology, sociology, psychology, etc. For example, the film Wall-E is science fiction about the end of life on Earth due to man's disregard for nature.


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The importance of science fiction

Science fiction tends to turn real scientific theories into stories about what is possible.

  • The stories use facts of sciences to suggest a real possible future.
  • It explores what could happen if specific events came to pass.
  • It suggests possible consequences of scientific advancements.


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Science fiction in literature

H.G. Wells' 1898 novel The War of the Worlds tells the story of an alien invasion in the United Kingdom that threatens the existence of mankind. The novel started with, "No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own."

George Orwell's 1984 shows the future of mankind in a dystopian state. It shows society under a tyrannical government, where "Big Brother" is watching your every move.


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Science fiction in pop culture

Science fiction in pop culture

The Star Wars films are probably the most well-known example of science fiction in popular culture.

The Matrix is another sci-fi film that tells the story of a world where humans are completely controlled, and life on Earth is a simulation occurring in the mind. Neo, the protagonist, is shown that his life is an illusion and he is tasked with saving humanity.


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Fantasy and space opera

Fantasy is a genre of fiction that focuses on imaginary elements such as superheroes, alternate worlds, aliens, etc. Science fiction may include elements of fantasy but always have a basis in science, whereas fantasy is only imaginative.

Space opera is a form of science fiction where the story takes place in outer space. Space operas are action or adventure-themed and include space travel, interstellar wars or heroes trying to save the world.


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